In the footsteps of aristocrats: Dundjerski Castles

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

As if the medieval castles, the spooky underground tunnels, and the traditional wooden and stone villages were not enough, Serbia also homes several dreamy castles from the 19th century. If you want to visit a more mysterious and opulent part of Serbia, you can follow in the footsteps of the most famous Serbian aristocrats from the 19th century and discover Dundjerski Castles. These castles are places of inspiration, and the fairy-tales of the beautiful ladies strolling their halls are told even today. The castles stand tall between a vast blanket of trees, and most of the surrounding area is used for the agricultural purposes today. Those castles serve as a cultural and natural monument across the country.

Who were the Dundjerski aristocrats and why they built castles across Serbia?

From the year 1882 to the outbreak of the World War II, some castles in Vojvodina, the Northern Serbian province, came under the ownership of the popular Dundjerski family, the most influential family in whole Vojvodina of that time. They became famous mostly because they earned all their money, by working hard. They invested a lot of money back in the local community and helped artists, poets, and scientists financially. The Dundjerski family quickly became the real superheroes in their society.

Castle Fantast, the most famous Dundjerski family legacy

Bogdan Dundjerski built the biggest Dundjerski Castle, also known as Fantast Castle, which is regarded as the most luxurious and magnificent fort in Vojvodina. He constructed the castle to show the people that he has not gone into bankruptcy. Nowadays the castle serves as an authentic museum of the 19th-century heritage and offers accommodation and food to its visitors. The stories around the castle are inspiring, and the legends make Bogdan Dundjerski a local hero. With just enough of the dreamy history and surreal setting, Castle Fantast is an excellent choice for a romantic weekend getaway.

Bogdan Dundjerski had a love for horses and had over 1400 of them. His most popular horse was named Fantast, and he was always the winner of the races in Belgrade. After Fantast died, Bogdan buried him in the castle premises, and named the castle after his favorite horse Fantast Castle. Today the farm of Bogdan’s horses has a total of six stables with 80 horses. It is a place for playing equestrian sports, and it serves as a horse riding school.

The love story

Bogdan Dundjerski was a bachelor, and had a love for horses, wine and women. Once, Bogdan fell in love with Mara, the blacksmith’s wife. In order to get her, he gave the blacksmith a lot of money and 21 acres of his land, so that he could make Mara the hostess at his court. The legend has it that Mara lived like a princess from the Disney fairytales. The palace’s front had a pool, which they filled with milk and Mara bathed in it. When a painter named Uros Predic painted the church of the Castle Fantast, Bogdan wanted Mara’s face as the face of Virgin Mary.

Dundjerski’s family castle in Celarevo

There is another Dundjerski Castle in Celarevo, which came under the protection of the Museum of Vojvodina in 1967. The castle lies in a park-like environment and a classicism style. The castle is open as an exhibition venue, while all the original objects from this place reside in the Vojvodina Museum. The walk between the old maple trees in the surrounding park is very relaxing. It reminds of those long walks that princesses in fancy dresses used to take in the epic fantasy novels.

Castle Dundjerski in Kulpin

Following the Dundjerski legacy across Serbia, we reach the castle in Kulpin, built in the classicism style. It is a majestic castle that has a park of around 5 hectares and exhibits growing wheat, hops, hemp, hog-breeding, dairy industry, ans serving as the natural and cultural monument at the same time. The park is a mix of English and French styles. The complex of four buildings now serves as a museum that you can wander around and get the real taste of how the 19th-century bourgeois used to live. In the big park, it’s possible to join in some of the traditional farming activities for the full 19th-century experience.

Just during one day there, you get the feel of princes and princesses waltzing through a lavish castle. The tales around Dundjerski aristocrats are inspiring and thought-provoking. Following in their footsteps uncovers a whole different Serbia, full of prestige, fancy dancing parties, and inspiring Dundjerski castles. They are silent witnesses of the aristocratic era that was once prevalent among the people who lived in these very castles.

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